My long search for a real Kenyan standup Comedian came to an end yesterday. I met Rapcha, The Sayantist also known as Francis Kibe. That was at Alliance Francais yesterday for his first ever public performance as a standup comedian.
As I had mentioned on twitter prior to attending the show (see my twitter updates), I was rather skeptical of the show because most such Kenyan acts claim to be Stand-up comedy yet they are not.
I have nothing against Dan Dambuki aka Churchill, I am a great fan , but for heavens sake, he is not, and has never been, a standup comedian.
Actually, Kenya has never had a standup comedian.
Having watched the whole Def Comedy Jam series, The Kings of Comedy, all Chris Rock comedy shows, Dave Chapelle and Nigeria’s own Basket Mouth just to mention a few. I would say, I have a pretty good idea of what is and what is not Stand-up comedy. I have also watched the J Leno show which most Kenyans consider to be stand up comedy.
(image courtesy of Ghetto Radio)
This is the critic like mind that I went with for Rapcha’s show.
The event which was set to start at 6pm started barely a few minutes to 7pm, something that I felt was quite uncalled for. However, Kenyans being their typical self started streaming in at 6.30, something that the Ghetto Radio crew knew I guess.
The host for the evening was Mwafrika who is nowadays spotting dreadlocks(looks good- moving away from the geeky look he had with the specs……..no pun intended ) Mwaf as he is better known, is one of the few serious Underground MCs that I know who live, breath and speak true Hip Hop. sorry I am digressing.
He introduced the act for the evening and since I dont’ know Rapcha, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, knowing that Ghetto FM is all about ‘Maisha Ya Ghetto’ and I also knew that the show would be in Sheng, I was ready for anything. Then this tall light skinned slender guy clad in a navy blue suit and white shirt complete with a Tie walks on stage.
At first I couldn’t get why everyone was laughing. It turns out, they have never seen him in a suit and he was also not used to the feeling of being in one and also being seen in it. And that is where he drew his first them for the evening.
His comedy is purely in sheng and one will need to be well versed with the latest sheng/slang, to know what he meant by terms like Ketepa, and many others I can’t recall now. Some might think that this was/and might be a hindrance to his reach, however, I did not see that happen. The audience was in stitches, some even stood clapping and cheering on numerous occasions.
What cracked me up is when he was talking about the types of living standards in Kenya:- “Those below the poverty line, those in the actual poverty, those above it, politicians then Indians”
His style and choice of language might not appeal to those who can’t understand sheng (also known as “ma-barbie”) but it is the language that the ghetto understands and uses thus one can relate more when its relayed the way it actually is.
I need to get myself a sheng dictionary or keep listening to Ghetto Radio’s show ‘Up with your slang’
This prompted me to delve into what exactly Stand-up Comedy is
Wiki explains it this way : Stand-up comedy is a style of comedy where the performer speaks directly to the audience, with the absence of the theatrical “fourth wall”. A person who performs stand-up comedy is known as a stand-up comic, stand-up comedian (comedienne if female) or more informally a stand-up. It is usually performed by a single comedian, with the aid of a hand-held microphone. The comedian usually recites a fast-paced succession of humorous stories, short jokes (called “bits”), and one-liners, which comprise what is typically called a monologue, routine or act.
Maybe we need to get a few basics on what exactly Stand-up comedy is
- The only props used in stand-up comedy are a microphone and the comedian
- stand-up comedians do not use any props(funny dress code, other paraphernalia, other invited guests etc)
- A stand-up comedian does not fully talk, act or look like the person they are aping(popular with redykullas) they might give snippets of this but not a full show of it.
Here’s a list of known Standup Comedians.
I honestly hope that Rapcha will be one of those who will get to grace our TVs following the stand-up comedian search done by Churchill and NTV.